ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss startup Smart Valor has become one of the few blockchain groups to get the approval to operate in the Swiss financial market, paving the way for the launch of its online investment platform over the years. ;year.
As companies have made progress in receiving approval from the FINMA market supervisor to offer cryptocurrency services, most of the groups that manage their digital currency – or blockchain – platforms are not regulated by the rules of financial supervision.
Switzerland has made a name for itself as the headquarters of the "Valle di Crypto" center, where hundreds of virtual coin projects have opened stores in recent years. But the lack of regulatory clarity and due diligence controls made banks uncomfortable, leading them to cut off access to financial services for most of the industry.
The approval of Smart Valor as a financial intermediary will give more credibility to the blockchain group, because it means that it will be overseen for compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.
Smart Valor will not be directly supervised by FINMA but by an association called VQF, a self-regulated organization approved by FINMA to verify anti-money laundering compliance.
Wednesday's VQF confirmed that Smart Valor had been accepted as a member.
Both FINMA and VQF have declined to comment if others who manage blockchain platforms have obtained approval as financial intermediaries.
Smart Valor said he intends to launch an online platform for alternative investments, including cryptocurrency, in the fourth quarter. Resources will be "tokenised" on the platform, which is supported by blockchain technology.
"Most of these investments were previously only available to a small elite of private individuals and institutional investors of high net worth," said managing director Olga Feldmeier.
"Tokenization transforms the way people own things, improves liquidity and makes these investment opportunities accessible to a wider audience of investors."
The group claimed that it was requesting a bank license to expand its investment offers in securities, planned for the first half of 2019.
"Pending regulatory approval, the VALOR platform will expand its offer of asset-backed tokens, such as equity in blockchain companies, infrastructure projects related to blockchain, real estate, encrypted funds, venture capital and private equity funds, "the group said in a statement.
Report by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle